At a glance – the CCSS approach

In the One Year Psychology course, the focus is on independent learning, The lessons are run as seminars, with students familiarising themselves with the subject content prior to attending the lesson. The lesson is then spent exploring the topic area in more depth and clarifying those areas students find more difficult. This means that students are always given access to the materials for the following week in advance and so, alongside their homework tasks, they will be required to watch a lecture online or read an article or some notes.

This ‘flipped classroom’ method allows students to be self-critical and reflective of their own learning and understanding in relation to what they will be assessed in this course. These ‘independent learner’ skills are imperative to succeeding on a One Year course but they are also a key facet of tertiary education, where students will be expected to do much of the work for themselves.

As the classes run more as seminars than traditional lessons, students have the opportunity to ask questions and have much more interaction with their teachers. Regular feedback will be given, either via email or on the work students complete.

The One Year course is an intense fast-paced course, designed for students with some experience of A Level and a desire to work hard. It will give students a supportive introduction to university style teaching, and places them in an environment where a desire to learn is valued and a love of Psychology can be fostered.

Exam Board: AQA

No coursework

For each of the four units is it possible to give an example of a real world situation to illustrate an aspect of the theory?

Course content and assessment

The AS course has two units, which constitute 50% each of the AS-level, or 25% of the A Level.

Unit 1 is Cognitive and Developmental Psychology, and Research Methods. The students study models of memory and memory in everyday life; early infant/carer attachment and the impact of day-care practices. Finally the research methods section covers modern techniques used in research along with design and data analysis.

Unit 2 is Biological and Social Psychology and Individual Differences. The student learns about the physiological and psychological aspects of stress, and stress management. Social influence deals with minority and majority influences, obedience to authority and independent behaviour. Finally, individual differences examines definitions of mental disease, and the various perspectives on mental disorder, including different treatments.

Units 1 and 2 are assessed in two 1½-hour examinations using short question and answer format, and including one or more brief essays.

For Unit 3 students will be able to choose three of the following topics to study:

  • Gender.
  • Biological rhythms and sleep.
  • Perception.
  • Eating behaviour.
  • Relationships.
  • Intelligence and learning.
  • Aggression.
  • Cognition and development.

Unit 4 covers psychopathology, which gives the students a chance to develop more in-depth knowledge and understanding of classification of particular disorders. The psychology in action section promotes an appreciation of the relationship between research, policy and practices in relation to either:

  • Media psychology.
  • The psychology of addictive behaviour.
  • Anomalistic psychology.

Finally the research methods section allows further understanding of psychology as a science.

Background required

No previous experience of the subject is required to take the A Level. A good standard of English is desirable; to write fluently, and for the comprehension required following the written text. The evaluation of statistical information is part of the subject and you do need to be comfortable with numbers and interpreting graphs.

Suitable combinations

Arts and Science A Levels, as well as other Social Sciences, such as Government and Politics, Sociology and Law are all suitable combinations with Psychology

After A Level

An A Level in Psychology be the springboard to further study of Psychology at degree level, as well as a wide range of other courses – Law, Management, Forensic Science, or any of the caring professions. Not only can Psychology be directly useful in your future study and work, but its greatest justification is the insight it will give you into everyday life.